Your Ask Joey ™ Answer

I’m getting started with FAR today and I was wondering if you had any advice on how to best absorb the materials?

Keep in mind that the FAR exam is without a doubt the most robust and voluminous when it comes to content. The way that our structure is outlined is focused on breaking out the financial statements at a high-level and as you continue, we dig into it in much more detail.

For example, in Ch. 1 you might notice our FUPIES mnemonic. Yes, memorizing this is always helpful, but keep in mind that each element of the mnemonic will be reiterated in subsequent chapters (e.g. (F) foreign currency translation will be elaborated in Ch 5 M5). 

Also keep in mind that each topic in the FAR exam will generally have 2 primary objectives (1) valuation and; (2) financial reporting. For example, when you learn how to calculate something (e.g. ending inventory/COGS under perpetual LIFO) tell yourself “Okay, I know how to calculate this but what am I really calculating here?” you would be calculating something that is presented on the balance sheet (inventory — current asset) but also its income stmt. impact (cost of goods sold). Point being, understanding the topic’s calculation is key, but not enough.

You must know WHERE/HOW this will be presented in the financial statements. It is the financial statement preparation exam after all and the folks at the AICPA can and will try to trip you up so it’s safe to assume that everything is fair game. Focus on the “why” and the intuition behind all of the topics, apply a systematic approach, and a mental map. 

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